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INTERVIEWS

RESEARCH BEFORE YOUR INTERVIEW

"Never, ever walk into an interview not knowing the company, its products, its problems, its opportunities and its competitors.  Again, the answers are out there.

Dig up enough facts to help you talk intelligently to your potential employer. Failure to do so will mark you as a half-hearted candidate ... and you will lose out to other, better-prepared job seekers.  Every time."

- Kevin Donlin, author of "The Last Guide to Cover Letter & Resume Writing You'll Ever Need"

WHY DO RESEARCH BEFORE YOUR INTERVIEW?

  1. You will be able to more fully demonstrate your enthusiasm for the career field and the organization.

  2. You will also be able to articulate how your skills, knowledge and values match those of the organization and industry.

  3. You can determine if this is an organization to which you would want to devote the next few years of your work life.

REMEMBER: You can never know "too much" about an organization. Interviewers are always impressed when you have conducted your research thoroughly and can ask informed, intelligent questions about the organization and the job.

RESEARCH THE CAREER FIELD

Before an interview, you MUST educate yourself:

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How does this industry work - what do the organizations do, how do they make their money (or, in the case of nonprofits and government agencies, how and whom do they serve)?

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What are the skills and personal qualities that successful professionals in this industry share?

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What are the significant trends in this industry?

Keep up with industry trends - read relevant "trade journals" and websites.

RESEARCH THE ORGANIZATION

When you go for an interview, you should absolutely know: the company, its products, its problems, its opportunities and its competitors.

As you research, keep this question in mind:

What are the skills and personality characteristics that this job demands and this organization values, and how does your experience and background demonstrate those skills and traits?

Before your interview, you should know the following (bare minimum):

  1. What are this organization's products and/or services? (Even non-profit organizations serve people through education, lobbying efforts, publications, etc.)

  2. What direction has the organization taken within the past one to two years, and what might be expected in the near future?

  3. What does this organization value? Obviously, for-profit organizations value profit. But most organizations are driven by other values, as well - social conformity; innovation; teamwork; efficiency; the professional development of its employees; public service. You should search for: a) what the organization states about its values, and b) what they really are. The two are not always in agreement.

  4. If you will be working in a division of the organization, what is the role of that division, and how does it relate to the parent organization?

  5. IF YOU

    1. are seeking a job above entry-level,

    2. OR have made it past the first-round interview and have been asked back for another interview,

    3. OR just want to be very well-prepared for your first-round interview,

      then you should look for the following information about the employer:

    1. Nature/structure of the organization.
  • What products and services are offered?
  • Who are their customers?
  • What are the different branches or divisions of the company?
  1. Place within the industry, in comparison with other companies.
  • Reputation. Do they serve their customers well? What is the quality of their products/services?
  • Market niche. Do they cover many industries? One industry broadly? One little spot within an industry?
  1. Corporate culture/work environment.
These questions are often best answered through speaking with current employees.
  • What does the company value? Is it teamwork? Uniformity? Being an leader within the industry? Youth? Longevity? Commitment to a certain social ideal?
  • What is the workplace like? Is there a dress code? Are people promoted from within? Is innovation encouraged? Are there opportunities for professional development and learning on-the-job?
  1. Financial stability and health.
  • How old is the company?
  • Have they been profitable over the past few years?
  • Have they been hiring new employees recently? Laying people off?
  1. Future expectations.
  • Are they planning new products/services?
  • Are they planning on any expansion?
  1. Specific Career Fields:

What you need to know for an interview may depend on the type of job you are seeking.  Here are some examples:

  • If you're seeking a job as a counsellor or social worker, you should try to find out what the agency's philosophy and standard treatment practices are.

  • If you are seeking a finance position, you should have a grasp on the company's financial statistics.

  • If you are seeking a teaching position, you should have a clear understanding of the standards for your grade level and subject.

  • If you are applying for a marketing position, you should know how the company positions itself within the industry and what its advertising and marketing has looked like over the past several years.

You can find information about the company from it's website and from recent news.  Both can be found through a search engine such as Google but don't depend solely on what the company tells you.

Boston College


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Behavioural Interviews

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Types of Interviews

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Sample Questions

Behavioural Interview Questions    Traditional Interview Questions    Case Interview Questions
Education    Previous Jobs    Company / Job    Questions determining your Competence
Questions on Wages / Salaries    Personal Characteristics    Your Community Involvement

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Questions You Can Ask

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Questions Not to Ask


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5 employer concerns

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Before the interview
    
Commonly asked questions in a traditional interview
    Commonly asked questions in a behavioural interview
    Questions to Ask
    Questions Not to Ask
    References
    Dress for the Interview
    Anxiety

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Researching before your interview

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During the interview

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After the interview
     Thank You Letters

Interviews